If harm is imminent to yourself or others

Crisis Techniques and Skills (things to do while waiting for a response or reduce crisis level)

  • Go to your safe place
  • Breathe deeply
  • Remember this is temporary
  • Do not catastrophize
  • Distract yourself
  • Talk to family, friends, and support groups
  • Take quick acting, as-needed, anti-anxiety medication at prescribed levels (do not overdose)

Your safe place

A safe place is a real or imaginary place where you feel safe, secure, and relaxed. Many people visual sitting on the beach, smelling the salt air, listening the the birds and the breaking waves, sifting sand through their hands, eating and tasting their favorite beach food, a cool breeze offsetting the warm sun, etc.

Breathe deeply

Breathe has both physiological benefits as well as symbolic connotations. Breathing sends a message to our brains to calm down and relax. The brain then sends a message to the rest of our bodies. Breathing also reminds us that many things in our lives rise, crest, and then fall: emotions, feelings, pain, panic attacks, cravings, etc. Whatever you are currently going through, it will rise, crest, and the fall. Breathe deeply, remind yourself of this, pay attention to your body, accept whatever you are feeling (do not resist it), and come back to your psychological center, and your physical center, with breathing you can put aside regrets of the past or fears of the future, and focus on the present. In the present you have everything you need. There is nothing to fear.

If you are able, try combining breathing with affirmations / meditations, for example:

Do not catastrophize

We often get into crisis through a series of distorted thinking. One of the most common is catastrophizing – imagining the worst outcome. It is just as easy to imagine the best outcome, but we have a tendency to imagine the worst outcome in the spirit of preparing ourselves.

Distract yourself

Give your nervous system time to calm down by distracting your brain with other things: reading, painting, walking, watching TV, talking to friends and family,…whatever you are able to do.

Talk to family, friends, and support groups

Just talking to people who are safe to talk to (will not use your words to hurt you later, are non-judgmental, and supportive) can both distract and calm. Sometimes all we need is someone to hear us. Sometimes all we need is validation that are feeling and thoughts are valid, are our reality. Sometimes all we need is some loving affection. Reach out to your support network. If you do not believe there is any one you can reach out to, then talk to a spiritual leader: Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Rumi, etc. The universe loves you because your true self is lovable. Talk to the universe, and then, using your breathing, listen to what the universe is saying: “you are beautiful, just the way you are.”

Use medication as prescribed and appropriate

Some people have prescribed medication to be used when anxiety levels become too high. If you are one them, then use this medication. Only use what is prescribed. Do not overdose.